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Secretary-General Appoints Panel to Monitor Self-Determination Referenda in Sudan

Secretary-General Appoints Panel to Monitor Self-Determination Referenda in Sudan


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

In response to a request from the parties to Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Secretary-General has appointed a panel to monitor the upcoming self-determination referenda for Southern Sudan and the Abyei Area, headed by the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa.  The two other members of the panel are Antonio Monteiro, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal, and Bhojraj Pokharel, former Chairman of the Election Commission of Nepal.

The panel will make periodic visits to Sudan through the scheduled holding of the referenda in January 2011.  Panel members will engage with all relevant actors, including the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the referendum commissions, civil society and observer groups.  The panel will follow key referenda processes, as well as the political and security situation.  In addition to reporting to the Secretary-General on the conduct of the referenda, the panel will work directly to enhance confidence in the process by encouraging the parties and the relevant authorities to take corrective measures to resolve any significant problems or disputes that may arise. 

The upcoming referenda are extraordinarily important for the future of Sudan.  The Secretary-General is confident that the panel can play a helpful role in encouraging credible, Sudanese-led processes that reflect the will of the people of Southern Sudan and of the Abyei Area.

The support being provided by the Secretary-General through the panel is independent of the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s substantial programme of technical, logistical and security assistance for the two referenda.

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For information media. Not an official record.